American Funds Investors
Dentist Mike Tabor took charge of his professional and financial life for decades, but came to appreciate the guidance of a financial advisor.
RECORDED NOVEMBER 14, 2013
Dr. Mike Tabor: I never will forget the first day I made a trip to the bank and made a loan application for $32,000, which is what it cost to buy all of the equipment to set up a dental office that had three operating rooms, X-ray equipment and all the clinical supplies and instruments. $32,000 is still a lot of money, but in 1973 when you don’t have but about four quarters rattling in your pocket, it seems like all the money in the world.
Within a year or two, I was seeing a patient load that far exceeded what I really thought it would be in the earliest days. Here I am, 64 years old, and I’m still doing it and loving every day of it.
My involvement in forensic dentistry came about quite by accident in the spring of 1983. I met – and refereed a football game – with the new forensic pathologist who had just moved here in Nashville. He asked me to come down and look at a case with him one night after a football game. You’ve got to remember, this was before CSI. I wasn’t sure what the word “forensic dentist” meant. But I said, “Sure, I’ll go with you, it’ll be kind of interesting, and we’ll see what happens.” And from that point forward, I’ve never looked back. I’ve probably done forensic cases on a weekly basis since 1983.
Early on in my dental career, I took several courses in financial planning for the young dentist. I learned the power of compounding of your savings, and if you start very early it doesn’t matter how much you save because you have Father Time on your side. So now I’ve gotten to the point where I go to work and see my patients because I want to, not necessarily because I have to.
It doesn’t require rocket science; it doesn’t require picking the right next Apple stock or Google stock. It is not about hitting a home run; it is about just getting a tiny base hit.
One take-home I got from my financial planning course was you can manage your own retirement plan if you want to, and you can pick your own stocks or mutual funds. And for about 20 years, I really enjoyed monitoring and managing it myself. But there came a point in my career when monitoring it became labor intensive for me. And so I met a financial advisor, and he cultivated my relationship exactly the way I cherish and cultivate the relationship I have with my patients. He has managed it for quite a few years now and I cherish, so much, the relationship I have with him.
I heard – an old mentor of mine in years past says, you know, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You can call that Southern hospitality if you want, I don’t know. And some people might say it sounds a little bit corny, but it is special to me. So we try to remind ourselves every day that when we treat you as a patient, we’ve got to earn your trust first before we then go on to the next step.
And my most favorite line to give to my patients is, “You’re going to really, really feel good about this when it’s in your rear view mirror.”
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